Friday, April 18, 2014

Why No Mass on Good Friday?

First of all, what is the Mass.  It is the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary re-presented.

The question arises - are we "re-sacrificing Christ"?  Was Christ's sacrifice not enough?

So to get to the heart of the matter - if the Mass is an "unbloody representation of the sacrifice of Calvary, wouldn't Good Friday be the PERFECT day for Mass?"

A friend from the seminary, Fr. Ryan Erlenbush, has some great things to say about this on his blog.  (You can read the whole article by clicking here.)  He notes:

"Precisely because the Mass is a sacrament, it is a sign (not a mere sign, but a sign which contains a reality). However, in the commemoration of the Passion on Friday of Holy Week, the reality of the sacrifice is presented to the faithful not as a sacrament (i.e. not through the Mass) but “as it was really accomplished.” The Good Friday liturgy is, in fact, a more perfect re-presentation of the sacrifice of the Cross than is the Eucharistic liturgy. The Catholic faithful are more perfectly united to Calvary on Good Friday than they are by the offering of the Mass on any other day of the year. ..

...Not of course, that there is anything lacking in the Eucharistic sacrifice offered every other day; but the Church, on Good Friday, recalls (with a special efficacy) the Lord’s Passion in its reality and not in its figure... There is no defect in the Eucharistic sacrifice: It is real and true, as a sacramental reality (and the sacraments are certainly real). 
...Still, on Good Friday, the sacrifice of the Cross is offered and commemorated not as a sacrament (that is, not as a figure or sign), but in the reality of its proper species – “as it was really accomplished.” Thus, just as the figure passes away in the advent of the reality, the Church does not offer the sacrifice of the Mass at the Good Friday commemoration of our Lord’s Passion.


  1. I'm not sure about this, unless I am picking it up wrong. It sounds like the only way this idea is being supported is by toying with the definition of Sacrament throughout the article.

    Though I have just learned now that Communion is still given out during the Good Friday Liturgy, just that it isn't consecrated on that day but before hand. Is that what he is referring to?

    I don't think I have ever been at a Good Friday Liturgy in my parish, so this is new to me.

  2. This is wholly incoherent and self-contradictory. The Good Friday liturgy can't be both "more perfect" relative to the Eucharist (a dubious notion to begin with) and then to say that there is no "defect" in the Eucharist (and I'm saying, "Duh!!!").

    I see one deliberate "defect" of the Good Friday liturgy: there is no bodily communion with Christ! It is this privation (and the fact we are supposed fast) that we use to commemorate the event of Christ's death, so that we are mindful of our sinfulness.

    1. The 2nd paragraph is in error. The Good Friday Liturgy at 3 pm did offer the Eucharist (pre-consecrated). My bad.